If this sounds like your gang, then Western Canada is the perfect place to take them on holiday. The first time they meet up with a grizzly bear, or watch a massive whale crashing through the surface of the sea, is probably the first time they’ll all be silent at once, but the looks on their faces will speak volumes.
You can ride horses, fly in helicopters, watch whales and bears. Or try zip lining in mighty forests, visit glaciers…in Western Canada the possibilities are endless.
From going skiing in the morning to boating in the afternoon, few cities can offer the active family as much fun as Vancouver. There’s an Aquabus and the 1000-acre Stanley Park. Not to mention arty Granville Island with its own Kids’ Market, and open bus tours to the Aquarium, Science World, Treetops Adventure and an amazing Water Park.
Stay: Two nights in a two bedroom suite at La Grande Residence Sutton Place.
Collect your car and take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nainamo on Vancouver Island. The coast-to-wild-west-coast is superbly scenic and the town of Tofino will offer you a cornucopia of activities; from surfing and sea kayaking to whale watching and bear tracking.
Stay: Three nights in a beachfront suite (sleeping four) at Pacific Sands Beach Resort.
Take the ferry back to Horseshoe Bay and drive the amazing Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler. This year-round playground offers your family a world class array of winter sports. And in summer it’s even better; you can ride horses or hike deep into the natural forest around Fitzsimmons Creek. The gang can combine mountain biking with canoeing or kayaking – exploring glacial lakes and streams along the way. Or drive a 4×4 vehicle up Blackcomb Mountain, ride zip cables and take soaring suspension bridges over raging creeks.
Stay: Two nights in a two bedroom suite in the four star Pan Pacific Village Resort.
Southern Chilcotin Mountains
Now it really is your choice. Would your family like to become cowboys, riding the range in a lakeside resort that’s styled on an authentic ranch? Or would they prefer to explore the Shuswap region with its fabulous interconnecting lakes, provincial parks and 250 miles of untouched shoreline – aboard a houseboat? Actually, they don’t have to choose; you could do both!
Stay: Three nights in a two bedroom chalet at ranch-style Tyax Resort, and/or on a luxurious houseboat on the Shuswap.
Southern Chilcotin to Clearwater
Stay overnight en route to Clearwater and you’ll treat yourself to an unforgettable wilderness adventure complete with 5000 sq km of craggy peaks, icefields, crashing waterfalls and deep canyons. Not to mention breath-taking displays of wildflowers.
Stay: One night at Helmcken Falls.
Jasper is a peaceful, small town offering your family all sorts of excitement. You can tour the nearby Patricia and Pyramid Lakes and the Maligne Valley – home to bears, moose, elk, deer, big horned sheep and fabulous birds like eagles and osprey. The 165 foot deep Maligne Canyon is a spectacle of thundering river water and cascading waterfalls, a must-see destination rivalled only by Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake.
Stay: Three nights at Alpine Village
The drive from Jasper to Banff is so beautiful it’s virtually a destination in itself. Then comes Banff, a charming resort town surrounded by the Banff National Park. Your family can immerse themselves in any number of activities, ranging from therapeutic hot springs to hearty local restaurants. If they’re avid adventurers they won’t want to miss the Ice Explorer tours of Athabasca Glacier; if you’re a family of climbers and hikers you have Alberta’s Rocky Mountains close by, with 25 peaks that soar to over 3000 metres.
Stay: Two nights in a two bedroom suite at the Fox Hotel.
Banff – Calgary
Drive back to Calgary to return your car and catch your flight home.